12 May 2015

Back for now

After a rather unplanned and lengthy hiatus, I'm not sure how to return here.  It's been a rocky few months around here to say the least.  I've not been myself.  See, we're expecting #4 this fall and morning sickness has been a nigh constant companion.  Usually I try to live in the moment and keep reminding myself that the present is best.  I can't tell you how much I am looking ahead to the next few weeks where, hopefully, this nausea abates.  

Otherwise, everything is fine and dandy.  I am not working on any projects.  Laundry is a big enough project for now.  I am in the slow lane these days.  I count little victories.  Dinner.  Dishes.  (Most D does the dishes, blessed man.)  Getting out to the park.  Things like that.  

Yesterday evening I did some light planting ahead of the long weekend while the kids rode bikes with Papa.  We wanted to have more space for the kids to play on the balcony, but I'm not sure if I could nix the garden completely.  We have a little wooden play kitchen and I'm thinking to put it outside for the summer.

Of course we are still plugging away at lessons.  I say plugging away, but it's not really as dry as it sounds.  Except for me, maybe.  Everything is hard and dry for me!  The kids are motoring along.  We have an Arabic teacher coming every week, which was a miraculous find for us.  :)  She is wonderful and the kids love her.  Other than that, M is starting multiplication and he is oh so ready for it.  He is also reading to us almost daily.  His reading has improved drastically over the past few months.  It's a wonder how far patience and a little daily effort will take you.  J is also really coming along.  Her reading is much more confident, and she's getting faster at spelling with the big moveable alphabet.  

Our course of study is not very rigorous, especially given this mama's fatigue.  We do a little something every day.  A little spelling, a few fun sums (M's favourite subject is math), a page or two (or 10 if he's willing) from Danny and the Dinosaur.  Sometimes we nix the book work and stick to house work.  Cleaning windows, folding laundry with mom, dusting, mopping, vacuuming.  I'm sure I've said it before, but my kids love vacumming.  And lego.  We all love lego.  (Except maybe D who's constantly stepping on it...)  

Anyhow.  Though by no means comprehensive, I guess that'll do for an update.  I hope I won't be MIA too much anymore.  Fingers crossed.  

Wishing you a great week.

16 March 2015

Break (not that kind...)

Just came back from Michigan and the monastery there.  Another wonderful, though last-minute trip. So wonderful to see how God's providence orchestrates even the smallest details of our lives.  In the middle of Lent, a call to come.  And so we came.  And here we are, back again from our weekend break and wonderfully recharged.

It's March break now and M is home for the week.  That is a treat for us.  The kids have lots planned for the week.

First off, a treasure hunt.  Preferably in a sandy or earthy area.  (Very good for digging.)  Then a map will be drawn to show all locations where treasure was found.  Then, some carving.  Probably a house built - a real log cabin in the woods, if you please.  And of course a picnic, a trip to visit the cousins, and the maple syrup festival.  I don't know if got it all down, but you get the idea.  Very creative plans have been fermenting in little minds...

I doubt I'll be around much in the coming week or two for that matter.  (What's new?)  There has been a little school work going on despite the warmer weather.  The kids are learning arabic, so there was a new alphabet board we made.  :)  Not really inspiring perhaps, though it sure is pur-tty to me...

Also, we opened the last jar of peaches canned from last summer.  So good.  So good.  Summer in a jar.  The kids ate a bowl for breakfast.  Then they quickly began planning how many jars we needed to can this year.  Hilarious to listen to.

I know there aren't many photos of creative pursuits these days.  We've put aside a lot of things during Lent.    Sewing, crocheting, crafting, art.  It's not so much for lack of time, though Lord knows how often that is the case.  It's more like an almost unconscious movement towards inner stillness?  A desire to meet Him in the silence after the storm - or perhaps the silence in the midst of the storm.   It seems like there may be a moment here and there.  Most of the time though, there is more reading, more services, more contemplation.  A special season  of the year set aside for just that.

May your week be blessed.

1 March 2015

Letting off steam and waiting for spring

I haven't been on this space in a while.  A few things going on to keep me away.  Lots of work getting french materials ready for the summer as well as running the home and working with the kids.  Also kind of slower with Lent.  And sometimes not slower.  But that's usually because of the kids.  :)  They never slow down.  Except to sleep.  And maybe read.  (I love reading time...)

We had some dear friends over this evening.  A bit of a last minute gathering, but so wonderful.  So needed.  To connect and share and go deep.  There is strength in that, and comfort.  The kids were bouncing off the walls though, and for some reason it rocked my boat more than usual.  I mean, I struggle with patience on a good day, but today was not one of my finest.  I felt like I was almost picking fights with them... kind of like a teenager.  Maybe PMS is on the way... yeesh!  

At the end of the day though, all they really needed was to let off some steam.  Things improved once I sent them out the door.  They ran in the hallways over and over on our floor until they were too tired to keep going.  Then we made donuts and had them with fruit.  Cause if you're going to have donuts, you should be healthy about it... Riiiiight.

Then they begged me to sleep beside each other on the floor.  They've been begging for almost a week.  Tonight, I caved in and set up the mattress with some pillows.  This is what I came in to see when I went to check on them later.  (Obviously it was way darker than what the picture shows...)  So sweet.  So innocent and full of childlike love.  They were practically holding hands.  

And that made it all better.  (Well, that and having the dishes done.)  The whole day, my bad mood, my yelling, my stressing out over silly things.  Gone.  

I guess I needed a little TLC too... even if it came from sleeping babies showing it to each others.

PS - Despite the slew of recent -30 days, we are eagerly looking to spring nowadays, as you can tell!  We've planted some radish and parsley seeds in little "planters" for the kids.  Actually, it was M's idea and he started it all.  Now we have 3 little containers sitting on our table basking in the sun.  Stay tuned for the finale!  

22 February 2015

A long journey

The cold is moving in again and we are expecting -30 degree weather for tomorrow.  That being said, I am actually looking forward to a cosy day together.  We don't have a fireplace, but we have a wall of windows on our corner unit, so the sun warms our place nicely in the winter.  (Sometimes I turn off the heat during the day because it's more than enough.)  A couple little ones are not well, so there will be some snuggling and reading - two favourite activities - and hopefully some quiet work.  And reflection.  Lots of that.

Lent is beginning, my friends.  A long journey towards the most profound and brightest Feast.   The Feast of feasts.  But first, there is the journey.  An often monotonous journey punctuated by a quiet sadness or gravity.  I love what Alexander Schmemann wrote about Lent - it captures the whole spirit:

"But then we begin to realize that this very length and monotony are needed... Little by little we begin to understand, or rather to feel that this sadness is indeed "bright", that a mysterious transformation is about to take place in us.  It is as if we were reaching a place to which the noises and the fuss of life, of the street, of all that which usually fills our days and even nights, have no access - a place where they have no power.  All that which seemed so tremendously important to us as to fill our mind, that state of anxiety which has virtually become our second nature, disappear somewhere and we begin to feel free, light and happy.  It is not the noisy and superficial happiness which comes and goes twenty times a day and is so fragile and fugitive; it is a deep happiness which comes not from a single and particular reason but from our soul having, in the words of Dostoevsky, touched "another world".  And that which it has touched is made up of light and peace and joy, of an inexpressible trust.    (Alexander Schmemann - Great Lent: Journey to Pascha)

A blessed journey to you.  

16 February 2015


This past weekend was a long weekend and we had planned a trip to rural Quebec to visit a Greek Orthodox monastery out there.  It is a dear place to us.  I grew up near that area for a couple years, so my sisters and I spent a lot of time there as children.  Needless to say, seeing my own children playing there now is a very beautiful and profound thing.  

The huge property is nestled in the woods in a rather remote location.  In the spring and summer and fall, it is stunning and colourful and in full flower.  But in the winter time, it is quieter, practically still, with the snow covering the earth in a white blanket and muffling all sound.  With so little movement from nature, it is a place for solitude, for prayer, for contemplation.  

Of course, I forgot the camera so no hard evidence.  (That always bums me out!)  And of course the kids had an unforgettable time!  Another bummer not to have pictures to remember them by!  There was lots of time spent with dogs and cats, a few pony rides, a visit to the cows and chickens, lots of wonderful indoor conversations around the wood burning fires, hot chocolate with the sisters, visits to the their workshops, a promise of carving lessons in the future for a certain little man, and two little girls crawling all over the kitchen playing doggie.  All of this surrounded by such love and warmth and care from the sisters.  They really are our sisters.  And mothers.  The kids soaked up their attention and love.  They did not want to leave.  (I won't lie, the animals were a huge attraction too...)  They don't usually like leaving those sacred places.  Truly Panagia's garden.  

We came home today, but we are not here just yet.  Our hearts have to have some time to come back with us.  A nice fish dinner helped.  But we are tired from the trip and tired from not enough sleep.  I bid you goodnight and wish you much rest.

11 February 2015

A substitute machine and French baguettes

I haven't been crocheting like usual this little while.  It's not that I lack motivation, more like time.  Also, any time I've set aside has gone into some sewing projects.  When she heard my machine broke, one of my dear aunts lent me her sewing machine.  

This machine is just phenomenal!  So smooth, so responsive.  I don't know how I'm going to go back to my other one once I get it fixed.  :)  Thank you for your thoughtfulness, Aunt Annie!  

From our kitchen, to yours, I feel compelled to share one of the best bread recipes we've ever made!  Certainly the easiest and fastest and most convenient.  And all thanks to a posting from my friend, Yanic.  (Thank you, Yanic!)  I can't wait to try it with whole wheat or sprouted wheat flour.  Yum!

It didn't take long to make at all.  I started them around 2pm and the loaves were finished before dinner.  We had them with a hearty lasagna.  Actually, we started eating them before, technically.  The kids love home made bread when it's fresh and still warm from the oven.  It reminds me of my own childhood.  :)  It's honestly fantastic bread - you won't regret making it!  

Here are my babies being helpful.  M is doing my dishes, and J is doing her dishes.  They love water play.  Anything with water and they'll spend hours quietly finishing the task.  Love these darlings.  

This is my little man making music.  J was given a harp for her birthday and we have all been enjoying it.  J and M really genuinely love to play.  

Wishing you days filled with the sound of music!

Joining Nicole and friends for this week's Keep Calm Craft On.

8 February 2015

A Cheshire cat grin

As I write, I feel almost like stretching with languid satisfaction.  Almost.  You see, my home is clean.  Floors, my laundry, my dishes all done.  Bonus: the grocery shopping is finished and food is to be had in abundance in the form of a large potato-n-meat casserole in the oven and a big old pot of beef bones simmering on the stove for tomorrow's beef and barley soup.  Not to mention the plate of chocolate cookies and containers of chopped fruit.  :)

Why does that make me feel like a CEO who just solved a huge problem?  It always puzzles me to find out that happiness - I mean real and genuine joy - is to be found in such simple and rather unglamorous ways.  Anyhow, I figured I'd write it here for posterity actually since I so rarely have these days.

We spent a lovely weekend with some lovely friends.  I do so love having those pleasant, deep kind of conversations with a cup of tea.  :)  We also had a birthday this past week.  Little J turned four.  How time is flying.  That little one is still such a sweet baby to us.  But she is growing, that is for sure.  Her little personality is unfolding more and more.  She loves to have "conversations" (the kind where she tells mama all about something she's learned).  She can read, can zip up her own coat, do snap buttons, love to set the table for meals, loves to bake and help stir things on the stove, and is absolutely in love with animals.  And for the record, she LOVES her messenger bag.  It's just perfect for toting around the little things that four-year-olds must carry.  (Her prized notebook, a pencil crayon, Kleenex, lip balm, little model horses...)

And we had a fun week with math for M.  He is just loving math.  I can't tell you how much it just amazes me to see the wheels turning and then suddenly the light goes on.  It's absolutely amazing!  This is a photo of him working with the Montessori Addition Chart 6.  It's the blank chart that he has to fill in with the answers.  Some sums take him longer depending on if he has to figure it out, or if he's internalized the answer.  But he's pretty sharp in the end.  And he can always check his work with Chart 1 - the answer key.

Anyhow.  All in all, we had a full week.  As usual.  :)  But this one definitely more in the good books than bad.  Wishing you the same this coming week.